Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sweet Potato Butter

OK... we are down to the last minute Christmas gift frenzy!! What do you get a neighbor to show your appreciation or that friend that gave you his preserved heirloom tomato seeds this past summer? (Or is this just a Rebecca problem?) How about something homemade? Every Christmas, I have a personal mission to give everyone on my gift list something that I have made over the past year- whether it be jelly I made over the summer, a hat I knitted in their favorite color or a tin of cookies that they wait for every year. I think this is the meaning of Christmas gift giving; taking the time to put love into something you give. Sure, everyone gets a commercial gift of some sort as well, but I know that I appreciate when someone takes the time to make something special for me, and I hope to reinforce that sentiment in my gift giving.

As you know, by this time each year, I have a whole cabinet of jars that I have preserved. Everything from Pickled Hot Wax Peppers to Strawberry Prosecco Jam. I have been making gift bags of assorted jams for friends and will be tucking jars of Bourbon Peach Jam into my suitcase for family in Pennsylvania. It is just what I do!!

I love to open the cabinet in my kitchen and see all the jars lined up. This year, I added this recipe to my line-up. On a recent trip to Charleston, SC in October, my aunt and I decided to go to the Charleston Farmers Market in Marion Square. This is a great event that I try to get to a few times per year. This year I had the opportunity to meet Stephen Palmer Dowdney and purchase his book Putting Up.  After tasting several of his recipes, we talked about our canning experiences and he was so personable and welcoming. As I was getting ready to leave, he of course signed my book and then provided his email and phone number in case there was any questions about the recipes. He also encouraged me to make my own recipes and if I  needed canning safety advice, he was always available. It was an awesome "local foodie experience." I encourage everyone to buy this book and visit Mr. Dowdney in the Charleston Farmers Market. I know I will be buying his new book on my next trip to the Holy City and probably some of his amazing jellies!

Sweet Potato Butter

I will be writing this recipe exactly as it appears in Mr. Dowdney's book. I encourage you to buy his book on his web page. He does an excellent job in defining "all things canning."

Canning Notes
  • This is a hot pack, acidified recipe.
  • Initial pH will be around 4.
  • The recipe makes approximately 3 pints or 6 half pints.
  • The recipe can be doubled.

4 cups sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and mashed (3 pounds raw potatoes)
3/4 cup apple juice
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt

Cook potatoes in a 400 degree F oven until soft throughout, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours
When cool to the touch, peel and puree in a food processor with apple juice until all lumps are gone.
Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a low boil.
Conduct initial pH test. If pH is below 4.3, it is fine. To reduce, add more cider vinegar. 1 tablespoon at a time.
Hot pack above 200 degrees F according to safe canning practices outlined on page 51.
Perform final pH test after 24 hours to insure a pH below 4.5.

Recipe is from Putting Up by Stephen Palmer Dowdney

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